Garry Myers
Garry L. Myers, D.D.S. , M.S.
Endodontics graduate program director

It always amazes me how quickly time passes before our eyes. It has been more than a year since our last alumni newsletter, so there is much to share with you. Dr. Clara Spatafore retired from her position in June 2022. Since her arrival in October 2014, she served as interim and permanent chair of both the Endodontics and Oral Diagnostic Sciences departments. During her last 18 months at VCU she served as the interim dean for the VCU School of Dentistry. 

We all wish her the very best in her future pursuits.

VCU and the AAE

In April 2022, the American Association of Endodontists held its first in-person meeting since the Covid-19 pandemic. VCU faculty and residents attended where I was recognized as the program chair of the meeting and Dr. Ana Andrada was recognized as the most recent recipient of the Foundation for Endodontics Educator Fellowship award. Also in attendance were seven of our residents who either presented poster research presentations, table clinics, or served as session hosts for a few speakers at the meeting. 

VCU Endodontics was again well represented in Phoenix!

Residents at AAE22: L to R – 1st row Colton Fischer, Joe Vaughn, Christina Martin, Garry Myers; 2nd row Brian Hone, Jake DeGracie, Jing Ye.

I am honored to serve as general chair at the 2023 meeting in Chicago, where for the first time, all four of our second year residents are giving oral presentations on their research projects. Our first year residents will again be giving table clinics. Please join us for the VCU Friends and Alumni Reception Thursday evening, May 4. We hope to see many of you there. It should be a great AAE Annual Session and I always look forward to seeing our VCU/MCV alumni at this annual meeting.

Legacy Day

VCU Endodontics hosted our annual Legacy Day in March. Speakers Dr. Stefan Zweig (current AAE President) and Dr. Alan Gluskin (AAE Past President) both traveled to Richmond from California to provide an engaging program with some thought provoking presentations. With Dr. Gary Hartwell and I in attendance, there were four present and past AAE presidents together for the day.

Lectures covered topics such as “Saving Teeth Through Endodontic Therapy,” “Exploring the Riddles of Root Resorption,” and “What Knowledge, Skills and Behaviors Define Competency in Endodontics.” 

VCU School of Dentistry CE Director Patrice Gray and CE Program Assistant and Social Media Coordinator Nicole Ilechie were invaluable in making this day a success – so, many thanks for their help and support!

Legacy Day speakers L to R: Dr. Alan Gluskin (Pacific), Dr. Garry Myers (VCU), Dr. Stefan Zweig (USC)

Spring 2024 marks the 50th Anniversary of the VCU Graduate Endodontic Program! Plans are already in the works as to how we should recognize this milestone and combine it with Legacy Day. Once the date has been set, we’ll be sure to share this information with you so that we can celebrate this occasion together in Richmond. Watch for future updates!

VCU Residency Program Update

Your residency program continues to receive more than 250 applications every year for only four slots.

In June 2022 we said goodbye to three graduating residents as they set sail into their endodontic careers. Dr. Brian Hone (D.D.S. ‘13/D, M.S. ‘22/D) returned to Idaho to join the group practice that he once referred patients to as a general dentist. Dr. Christina Martin (M.S. ’22/D) journeyed down the road to Virginia Beach where she is currently in private practice. Dr. Abdullah Alawadhi (D.D.S. ’15/D, M.S. ‘22/D) returned to his home country of Kuwait to practice endodontics after leaving his positive footprints around the campus of the VCU SoD.

Be sure to read about our current residents in an update by this year’s Chief Resident, Dr. Joe Vaughn.

Endo Resident Class of 2022: L to R Christina Martin, Abdullah Alawadhi, Brian Hone

Time marches on! Four new residents will be welcomed into the fold this summer. These incoming residents will continue to build on the solid foundation that you, our alumni, have established for them. Dr. Yasamin Mojarad (D.D.S. ‘22/D) will be returning to the VCU School of Dentistry after spending a year in a Florida AEGD program. Dr. Shivali Bhatt will be coming to VCU from the San Francisco Bay area and she will continue the recent lineage of University of Pacific dental graduates to enter our program. Dr. Mudher Bahar completed dental school in Iraq in 2007 prior to coming to the U.S. where he received his D.D.S. in 2018 from the University of Pennsylvania. He has been practicing general dentistry since that time. And our fourth new resident is Dr. Triet Vuong. He completed dental school in 2015 at UC San Francisco, then an AEGD in Seattle and he has continued to work as a general dentist in the Seattle area.

I am really looking forward to this next class (as I do every new class) as this group will bring a nice blend of experience and enthusiasm to the VCU program.

Finding time for fun

While the endodontic residents are kept busy when they’re with us, we do find time to have fun together. We always get together as a department during the holiday season, we host a dinner with the individuals invited for an in-person interview during the summer, and we do find time to get out and do some things together such as ax throwing and bowling.

You can be proud of the residents who have passed through this program over the years.

Ax throwing! L to R: Jake DeGracie, Banks Lee, Will Rudnicki, Jing Ye, Colton Fischer, Garry Myers, Aziz Mallik, Rica Mackert, Joe Vaughn, Ryan Hediger and Asha Hediger.
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Bowling! L to R: Ryan Hediger, Jake DeGracie, Banks Lee, Will Rudnicki, Jing Ye, Colton Fischer, Joe Vaughn, Front: Garry Myers

Endodontic Staff: the glue that holds us together

The glue that keeps our program together is our staff. Our department within the School of Dentistry has the BEST group of people working as our staff.

  • Haisten Bonner has provided great administrative support while doing the same for Oral Diagnostic Sciences.
  • Ryan Brown oversees not only the graduate endodontic clinic, but also the Oral Medicine clinic and the Urgent Care clinic.
  • Charity Hunter and Michelle Rideout are diligent schedulers of our patients that we see every day. With the increased Medicaid benefits for adult dental care in Virginia, our patient population has grown significantly keeping Charity and Michelle very busy.
  • And then we have our three chairside assistants – Stephanie Chin, Ian Kerr, and Vivian Kong.

All of our staff are dedicated to VCU Endodontics and they are a valuable resource for us all!

     Endodontic staff members Michelle Rideout (L) and Charity Hunter (R)
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Endodontic Holiday Party 2022. We Believe!

What lies ahead?

It is truly an honor and a privilege to serve as the graduate endodontics program director at VCU. Dr. Schafer is a great department chair to work with and Dr. Ana Andrada, predoctoral director, and Dr. Amber Ather, director of research, have really helped define VCU Endodontics.

Discussions about the construction a new dental school building are starting to come together, new faculty are being brought in to the school, and we have a new Dean leading the way.

The future looks promising!

Become a member of the Molar Club

As with many academic institutions around the country, budgets at VCU are tight and purchases of new technology for the teaching programs can be difficult. Compounded with efforts to construct a new building, our program relies on the financial and teaching support of our alumni. Thank you.

VCU Endodontics gratefully accepts your gifts to support the resident program through the Molar Club Fund.

The Molar Club is an unrestricted fund to help meet unexpected departmental and programmatic challenges and opportunities as they arise. Funding like this can make or break a first-rate endodontic residency program such as the one you benefitted from here at VCU.

Your financial help allows residents to …

  • Get hands-on experience with new technology including a new laser
  • Travel and attend annual AAE meetings, special surgical courses, and educational programs
  • Learn from one of the most popular and relevant programs at the forefront of the endodontics specialty
  • Prepare for a lifelong career in the endodontics profession while honing their leadership skills

Your gift — equivalent to the fee for one molar-endo procedure — is all it takes. It is a small way to give back to the department that provided the residency education that you received here at VCU.

I hope your situation allows you to give to the Molar Fund and support our residents. And for those who have made donations in the past, know that these have been sincerely appreciated and put to good use.

I look forward to when our paths next cross and please, keep in touch! Email me at

Categories Endodontics